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On Sicily’s glamorous coast, Taormina offers Ionian vistas framed by fragrant lemon trees and sophisticated trattorias.
Perched on the side of a mountain, this resort town is Sicilian glamour at its finest. Loved by everyone from D.H. Lawrence (who lived in the town for three years in the twenties) to George and Amal Clooney, Taormina oozes sophisticated elegance flecked with Italian charm. Soak up Ionian vistas or potter along cobbled alleys to find charming trattorias.
Dating back to the 4th-century BCE, Taormina is packed full of ancient buildings, crumbling ruins and intriguing history. Explore the Teatro Greco by day to admire views out to Mount Etna or, better yet, in the summer watch an open-air film in the evening and crack open a bottle of wine. Exercise lovers should attempt the climb up Mount Etna or Monte Tauro, while less-limber travellers can wander around the tropical gardens of Villa Comunale or visit the 18th-century Chiesa di San Giuseppe.
This is The Godfather territory – in the early 70s, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino were filmed in villages dotted around the Sicilian hillsides. Take a day trip to Castelmola for sweeping panoramas across the hills and to visit the ruined castle, or head to Isola Bella to hike around the nature reserve, reachable only via a narrow strip of sand.
Who to take with you
Someone up for getting lost among groves upon groves of Sicilian lemon trees.
When to go
Go at the beginning of July for the Taormina Film Fest, an awards ceremony dating back to 1955. Awards have gone to some of the world’s best actors including Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.
Where to stay
Most likely to bump into…
Celebrities seeking a quiet corner to escape from movie madness.
Essentials to bring with you
How to get there
Fly into Catania Airport, from which a transfer to Taormina is under an hour’s drive.
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